Male Factor Infertility

"Since coming to Zen Fertility Center, my migraines and tension headaches have become less frequent and less severe, my IBS is practically non-existent, and I've gone from severe sperm morphology issues to fathering twins.  ZFC works miracles." - J., San Diego

Misconceptions are very common in the world of infertility. One popular myth is that infertility is the woman's problem and that once that "problem" is fixed, the couple will be able to conceive. This could not be farther from the truth. In fact, in 1/3 of all infertility cases, the cause is attributed to the male and in an additional 1/3 of cases the cause is due to both male and female factors.  That means, in about 50% of these couples, a male factor is involved.  A common misunderstanding that an inability to conceive, miscarriages, and unsuccessful IVF or IUI cycles is primarily due to poor egg quality or other female reproductive issues. While egg quality and other female problems may be significant contributing factors, precious time can be wasted if poor sperm quality is not investigated nor addressed.

Most issues of poor sperm quality include concentration, motility, and/or morphology.  Sperm morphology — the size and shape of sperm — is checked as part of a standard semen analysis for male infertility. The results of a sperm morphology exam indicate the percentage of sperm that appear normal when semen is viewed under a microscope.

A review published in the medical journal Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that “the male contributes to recurrent pregnancy loss due to genetic factors, semen factors, or due to other factors such as age” and sperm morphology may reflect these underlying harmful conditions. Another study demonstrated that in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles with low percentages of normal sperm morphology were associated not only with lower successful fertilization rates and pregnancy rates per cycle, but also with a greater risk for miscarriages even if embryo transfer was successful. (Human Reproduction, Kobayashi, 1991;6:983-6)

Getting an updated, accurate, and thorough semen analysis performed at a fertility clinic is important. The analysis includes the measurement of 4 major factors: sperm count, motility (how quickly they swim), liquification (the time it takes for the semen to liquefy), and morphology (shape of sperm.) The semen analysis should be updated every year. Even if the male has fathered a child, it is still necessary for him to have an updated semen analysis as sperm quality changes with time.

Although western medicine does not currently have effective treatment to improve poor sperm quality, fertility acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and proper nutritional supplementation improve sperm quality and increase your chances for a healthy conception.  Because it takes sperm approximately 72 days to mature, it often takes at least 3 months to see an effect.  Sometimes 2-3 sperm production cycles are necessary to see the maximal benefit of therapy.


Even if intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is performed with an IVF cycle to resolve male issues, your chance of success will improve if the male partner also receives acupuncture treatment with us to improve semen quality. Fertilization can be achieved by ICSI regardless of sperm quality but poor sperm DNA leading to low count, motility, or normal morphology may prevent an embryo from developing into a healthy fetus, resulting in no pregnancy or early miscarriage.

Studies have shown that DNA fragmentation of normal sperm negatively impacts embryo quality and ICSI outcome, clearly demonstrating the need to improve sperm quality even in IVF cases with ICSI. Acupuncture treatment will improve the overall quality of the sperm so you'll have a better chance of fertilization and, if pregnant, decreased risk of miscarriage.

If My Sperm is Fine, Why Should I Receive Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is not just for men who have sperm issues. It is for any man who is part of a couple experiencing fertility challenges. Because sperm quality is so easily optimized with acupuncture and herbs/supplements, addressing the male often leads to more success whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or with ART (IUI, IVF). By improving the overall quality of the sperm, the “super-sperm” can increase the chance of success by helping to compensate for known female issues or undiagnosed infertility. As an added benefit, acupuncture can also help relieve stress and its effect on your body, increase your sex drive, and improve your overall health and well-being.

To the right, see comparative “before” and “after” semen analysis reports that demonstrate remarkable improvements in overall sperm quality following three months of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and nutritional recommendations.

Patient 1 - After 3 months of acupuncture, sperm morphology improved by 250% from a before acupuncture value of 4% to 14% after acupuncture. 

Patient 2 - After 3 months of acupuncture, improvement was seen in count, motility, and morphology. 

Recommendations to Assist You in Conceiving Successfully:

1.  If you have not had a semen analysis done and have been trying to conceive for more than 1 year, schedule an appointment at a fertility clinic for a thorough semen analysis.
2. Consider having your homocysteine blood levels checked.  If high, take Vessel Care.
3.  Eat nutrient dense foods.
4.  Reduce factors that affect sperm production adversely.

  • Radiation & other environmental toxins
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Poor sleep
  • Stress
  • Tight-fitting underwear
  • Hot baths
  • Excessive bicycling

5.  If male factor is involved, recommended supplements available from our online store include "Count Boost" to increase low count and "Motility Boost" to improve motility.
6.  Call us today to find out how natural treatments that can safely improve sperm quality. 

"We were struggling with male factor infertility for about two years. After reading about the positive effects of acupuncture on infertility, we started coming to Zen Fertility Center for treatments in parallel with seeking conventional treatment. Three months after the acupuncture treatments, we saw significant improvements in the lab results. That same month we got pregnant! We are very grateful to ZFC for helping us achieve pregnancy.  Our acupuncturist's caring personality and knowledge in chinese medicine and acupuncture did make a difference."- L&M, San Diego, CA